Saturday 1 October 2016

Old colleague Cleary a massive addition to Wexford backroom team

Published 03/08/2015 | 02:30

Rathnure manager Willie Cleary watches his team in action against Oulart-the Ballagh
Rathnure manager Willie Cleary watches his team in action against Oulart-the Ballagh

Ahead of what will be his fourth full season in charge of the Wexford hurlers, Liam Dunne has freshened up his backroom team.

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One of his new recruits, Willie Cleary (right), is a man I'm very familiar with, and he's a massive addition.

Willie worked with our De La Salle team in 2014 and I found him exceptional.

I've worked under Derek McGrath and I'd rate Willie right up there with Derek - that's how good this guy is.

Attending the recent Leinster final, Willie's name cropped up in conversation with Joe Dooley and Tom Dempsey. Lo and behold, Willie is now on board with Wexford and this can only be a good thing for them.

Willie has worked with a number of these Wexford players at minor level and with the Leinster interprovincial team.

He will bring freshness and new ideas and is fully in tune with the trends of the modern game.

He's a passionate Wexford man who introduced schools and clubs to Hurling 365 in the county, a new scheme launched in 2013 to place a huge internal focus on the game.

With the U-21s winning Leinster again and progressing to an All-Ireland semi-final against Antrim, the 2015 campaign could yet have a glorious ending for Wexford hurling.

I'm glad to see that Liam has decided to keep Gerry Fitzpatrick on board as strength and conditioning coach, with Damien Fitzhenry also retained in the backroom.

Both are top class guys. I've worked with Gerry in the past. He's one of the best in the business.

Ultimately, however, Liam will be judged on results and Wexford need to hit the ground running next year.

During my playing career, I found that a new voice did no harm.

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